Customer Experience Management: Encompassing Various Parameters and Life Cycles of a Customer

Ganesh Iyer, Senior Vice President, Customer Value Management, Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance Ltd

Customer Experience is not a new topic that we are talking about. It is an age old topic that has been going on and still has the same freshness as ever; only the mantras change. We have been seeing it and calling it in themes like Customer is the King, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Happiness, Customer Delight, Customer WOW Factor, Customer Expectation Management, Customer Retention Program, Customer Engagement Program, Customer Experience, Customer Value Management and many more. Having said that whether it was a century ago or today, all these themes, whether it was then or now, are all relevant together and they are not mutually exclusive. Yes, but with better technology, data and analytics, today we are in a much superior position than in the past. Today, we can surely talk about a Customer One View in a better manner than in the past.

Well, easy to say, but still are all entities having a Customer One View? It’s a big question to ask. Even today many entities are struggling because of multiple data sources and database repositories. Too much of integration happening. Then the data quality is an issue because of the vintage for many existing organizations. So, while the new data is comparatively cleaner and more comprehensive, challenges of past data exist. For new entities, it is much easier because of newer technologies, better data management and big data in place. Customer Experience is surely on the high agenda of many organizations and in all the sectors. Companies are able to have a better data analytics and provide better customer experience.

Customer Experience Manage­ment is a very broad terminology. Actually it encompasses various pa­rameters and life cycles of a custom­er. It’s about giving a great experi­ence to a customer. But incidentally, in doing so, we are also able to get some better economies of scale by way of operational efficiencies and cost savings. In other words, while it adds value to the customers, in turn it assists the company in its own val­ue management, which in turn can be used to give much better experience to the customers.

A well balanced entity with a good database management and analytics in place can actually add great value to the customer and in turn back to the company. But this has to be more scientific and properly value driven philosophy. It cannot be and should not be an ad-hoc principle in the organization. There has to be a proper value based culture to drive it and understand the needs of the customers. This should be engrained into the culture of the company, which in turn should be reflected from the business processes which should be customer centric, though without compromising on the quality and risk front.

A good culture of customer engagement (does not mean business related only) should be driven across the organization. It should be a part of the organizational training function and should be a part of every induction and refresher program of the Company. Good data backed analytics with cognitive behavioral patterns and profile management would assist the company in understanding its Most Valuable Customers, Most Growable Customers and Normal Customers. Based on a good customer segmentation like these mentioned, the organisation can prepare a good customer engagement calendar and program. Based on this program, a cross sell program can be made. A combination of customer engagement activity and cross sell program would ensure customer retention and enhanced family wallet share to the company because of enhanced customer loyalty. This will ensure a good business productivity and efficiency.

I strongly believe that “A Happy Employee gets hundreds of Happy Customers.” A good focus on the employees and on the value based culture towards Customer Engagement plays a significant role in creating a Customer Centric entity. In order to have a good customer base and profitability, the organisation should clearly distinguish between newly acquired customers and cross sell customers. A balanced focus on both would ensure a vertical and horizontal growth in the customer base, which is the real key to success and brings in great business efficiency and profitability. So, the role of Information Technology shall be the real key to this. We should always remember that whatever is the size or net-worth of any organization, resource crunch will always be the major constraint. There is no organisation or process in the world which does not have a bottleneck. There will always be a bottleneck. But how well do we manage these constraints and where we choose to have our bottlenecks, would actually decide the business efficiency process. So whatever we say or do, the reality is that from time immemorial the phrase 'Customer is the King' doesn’t change in any business and in any nation. So, do we have a choice but to have a good Customer Value Management or provide a great Customer Experience?